Valentine's Day for vets

Valentine's Day is a great time to say thanks to veterans throughout the country. The Veterans Administration's National Salute to Veteran Patients Week runs from Feb. 10-16 and already Valentine's Day cards are arriving at our three inpatient facilities. They attest to the nation's gratitude to our veterans.

The national salute observance is timed to coincide with Valentine's Day to connect the holiday's sentiments of caring and sharing with an expression of honor and appreciation to veterans for their sacrifice and service.

As part of this week-long observance, the VA Maryland Health Care System invites the local community to join us in honoring Maryland's veterans and to learn more about volunteer opportunities at any of our VA inpatient or outpatient facilities.

We thank the nearly 1,100 Maryland residents who have already pledged their support by volunteering their time and talent to veteran patients throughout the state. At the VA Maryland Health Care System, community volunteers can choose from an array of activities and assignments that can make their experience enjoyable for them and for our patients. Sometimes just being present with a smile is all it takes to brighten a patient's day.

Every citizen can make a positive difference in the life of our patients. For veterans, knowing that others appreciate their sacrifice and service can go a long way in the healing process.

To schedule a visit during National Salute to Veteran Patients Week, people can contact the Voluntary Service Office at any one of the following VA Maryland Health Care System facilities: Baltimore VA Medical Center, (410) 605-7100; Loch Raven VA Community Living & Rehabilitation Center (410) 605-7000, ext. 5877; and the Perry Point VA Medical Center (410) 642-1038.

Please help us show Maryland's hospitalized veterans that they have not been forgotten by calling and scheduling a visit to one of our VA Maryland Health Care System facilities today.

Dennis H. Smith

The writer is director of the VA Maryland Health Care System.

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